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And if Spain is the head of Europe, Portugal, set as its Western extremity, where land ends and sea begins, is as it where the crown on the head.

Thus wrote Portugalīs great epic poet, Luis Vaz de Camoes in The Lusiadas, 1572.

When looking to Portugal on the map of Europe Today we can suspect that this pint-size country canīt offer much of interest.

A great mistake. Portugal has more to show than some bigger countries.

In Portugal we can find some of the sugariest beaches, tumbles of Roman ruins, medieval walled towns that look much as they did 700 years ago, castles galore, large vineyars, exuberant country festivals, red-brows plains of cork oaks and olives, shepherds tending clouds of sheep, nice fishing villages ...

The extraordinary thing about 20th-century Portugal is that itīs so much unspoiled and so much itself despite the fact that it is only a short flight from London or Paris.

But if you want to see Portugal of the picture postcards, the Portugal of old, youīll have to hurry. Now that it has joined the European Community things are changing fast.

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